BADGP Reviews: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami, Platinum)

Review: Raiden is a Cut Above the Rest

Alex Linna

February 22, 2013   

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance presents a paradox.  It weaves that paradox through its gameplay and narrative.  The story frequently mentions peace, yet it might be the most violent game I have ever played.  Raiden calls his sword a “tool of justice”, a tool used to manually dismember hundreds of cyborgs and unmanned drones.  Raiden espouses a philosophy where killing one to save many is just, and he will kill many to save many more.  The game explores other interesting themes such as “Security versus Freedom” and overcoming one’s past.  I love Platinum Games and I was pleased to see how well they handled the Metal Gear license.  It feels like a Metal Gear game made by Platinum. It’s hyper-violent with a bounty of coarse language (definitely more than the other MGS games probably combined) like a Platinum game, and has the depth of storytelling of an MGS game. It is crazy and over-the-top like both.

How Does It Look?

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance looks pretty good. It certainly is not the worst or best looking game of the generation. The visuals are great in motion, the animations are smooth, and the set pieces are more jaw-dropping due to the content of them rather than the technical prowess.  I experienced zero technical issues with the game.  The presentation of the game is very Metal Gear.  Series veterans will feel at home with the menus and mountains of codec conversations.

How Does It Sound?

One thing that surprised me about the soundtrack to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was the amount of lyrics in the music.  In the first boss fight, the pounding metal chords are accompanied by a voice near the end and it made for a seriously epic moment. I thought, “That was an interesting choice to include vocals, I guess once isn’t so bad.” Vocals appear many more times throughout the game, but not in an overwhelming amount. I was not turned off by them; it just seems to me to be a weird inclusion at times.  That said about the presence of vocals, the tracks in the games are excellent.  Adrenaline pumping metal and orchestral combinations fused together proved to build to some exhilarating circumstances; there were also some occasional trips into electronica.  The voice acting was overall solid, but nothing really stood out for better or worse.

How Does It Play?

This is where it counts. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is whole lot of fun to play.  The blade mode where the player has control over the slashes of the sword takes practice, but little is as satisfying as perfectly dismembering an opponent with such precision.  It is a two-button action game with weak fast attacks and strong slow attacks.  There are many upgrades and weapons to experiment with that lead to a decent amount of replay value.  My highest praise for Revengeance is simply extolling how fun the game is to play.  The flow of the combat only rivaled by Platinum’s own Bayonetta and Team Ninja’s reboot of Ninja Gaiden.  The game possesses some impressive set-pieces and challenging boss encounters.  This paired with the excellent combat and a great narrative makes Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance an incredibly strong game.  There is even some gameplay diversity included to keep things fresh and interesting.

How Does It Compare?

I already compared the speed and flow of the combat to Bayonetta.  It is fairly clear that the same developer made the two games.  I would say that I liked Bayonetta more however.  This could be attributed to length and much larger number of combos present within Bayonetta.  The same goes for Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2.  Revengeance falls a little on the short side even though the game begs to be replayed.  What sets Revengeance apart is the blade mode and the depth of the narrative and philosophical conundrums present within the game.  The game’s story is not as strong as any of the four core Metal Gear Solid games, but is much better than most other action games.  I am a big fan of the genre and I am a big fan of this game. It seems as though Platinum could do a Revengeance 2 if they wanted; the game is left open to a possible sequel.  The brevity of the game seems as though this game was sort of an experiment; one with hopefully good enough sales to allow for a second run at it.

Conclusion/Recommendation

My largest negative about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is its length, but it was a great 7-9 hour ride.  The in-game game clock seems to be way off the amount of time it took me to beat it, so do not trust it.  There is no way I completed this game in less than 5 hours like it suggests.  I would have like some more cameos; Otacon would have been great to see.  I do not understand why Raiden’s blood is red when it was synthetic and white in Metal Gear Solid 4. These are very minor complaints.  What is presented in Revengeance is presented excellently, and I would recommend it to fans of the Metal Gear Solid series and action game fans of all kinds.  The exceptional gameplay, the intriguing narrative and thematic elements, and intensity and satisfaction the game brings makes Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance one not to miss.

8.8 out of 10

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